Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Is Technology to Blame for an Increase in Car Thefts?

Some say crooks are stupid, but sometimes it's the victims. Keyless ignitions are on the rise, and so are car thefts. Many believe that the two are tied together, due car owners leaving fobs in the car in order to streamline their morning routine. But few things stall out a morning routine like a stolen car.

Stealing a Car at the Push of a Button

Lucky thieves of cars whose owners have left the fob in the car need only gain entry into the car in order to steal it. We've all seen how easy it is for the AAA roadside assistant to gain access into our car when we've locked the keys in it.

In 2018, 62 percent of the cars sold came standard with keyless ignition. Thieves realize it's just a numbers game -- pop enough locks and you'll be able to drive away in a brand new automobile, without having to go on a game show to do it. As the price of cars ever increases, so does the reward for popping the right lock.

Keyless ignitions aren't the only problem when it comes to fobs. Another issue is the inevitable lost set of keys. With almost every fob having an alarm button, all a thief needs to do is find a fob and walk around pressing the alarm button. Odds are the car is close and will identify itself with a horn toot.

No Great Solution Other Than Insurance

Unfortunately, other than keeping your fob out of a locked car, and not losing your keys, there's not much you can do. Some experts encourage owners to put a locking club on the steering wheel. But if you lose your keys, you probably will lose your club lock as well. Sometimes the only thing you can do is make sure you have good insurance. "If the world-class auto thief that we all fear is out there and runs across your vehicle, they're gonna get it," said Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs at the National Insurance Crime Bureau. "That's why we have insurance, God forbid something happens."

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